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Bernanke's wealth creeps up, along with the rates

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Reuters / July 26, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Interest rates are not the only thing rising at the Federal Reserve.

New Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, who took office on Feb. 1, saw his wealth creep up at the end of last year as he was waiting in the wings to succeed Alan Greenspan as the man at the helm of U S monetary policy.

According to his latest financial disclosure report covering 2005 and released yesterday, the value of assets held by the Bernanke household closed out the year somewhere between $1.15 million and $2.49 million.

That is up from $953,000 to $2.12 million as disclosed in papers filed along with his nomination in October to the top Fed post.

Under ethics laws, Bernanke and other Fed governors are required to file annual financial disclosure statements with the government.

While Bernanke is hardly a pauper, he is far from being the wealthiest member of the Fed board. That distinction goes to Kevin Warsh, whose wife, Jane Lauder, is an heiress to a cosmetics fortune. Together, Warsh and his wife had combined assets at the end of last year totaling at least $66 million, according to a Reuters analysis of the disclosure forms.

The government does not require spouses to disclose an upper end of holdings above $1 million each.

Excluding his wife's wealth, Warsh held assets valued in a $916,000 to $2.07 million range.

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